Linnaea Jasiuk: Memories from the Ulukhaktok Kingalik Jamboree

Category: Ulukhaktok

Drumming at Jacks Bay, viagra Ulukhaktok

Each year the community of Ulukhaktok marks the migration of the Eider duck, seek known locally as kingaliks (male) and mitiinnaq (female). These birds, both nutritionally and culturally rich, are an important component of a northern diet. Each spring the birds migrate following open water leads and pass directly by the shores of the community. This migration route is normally predictable and brings them near enough to the edge of the ice where they become more easily accessible to hunters. This can be a bountiful season for many hunters, some harvesting as many as 100 ducks to last the year. It also elicits fond memories of spring times spent with family at key hunting locations near Mashuyak. Ulukhaktok celebrates the joy and thankfulness for the migration each year at the Kingalik Jamboree.

The first time I visited Ulukhaktok in 2012 I missed the Jamboree by a week but heard all about the cookouts, games, and celebrations. Given the excitement and pride with which people shared their jamboree stories, I knew that it was something I wanted to experience one day! This year, on my second trip to Ulukhaktok, I was there for the return of the Kingaliks and got the full jamboree experience. Food was a central part of this experience with meals like musk ox stir-fry, caribou quak (frozen meat delicacy), piffy (a dried char treat), and every combination in between.

Plucking contest at the Ulukhaktok Jamboree

What stood out as much as, if not more than, the food itself was the level of participation and cooperation that made these meals (serving 400 people) successful. Throughout the entire jamboree period, women of all generations could be seen chopping, stirring, frying, or cleaning so that there was always pan sizzling over the fires or someone mixing a stir-fry or flipping bannock. I joined in by picking up an ulu to slice, dice, chop, and mince ingredients destined for one of the many frying pans. The cooking process fascinated me and the food was delicious. Everyone took great pride in their dishes and their country food from the land and, as I was someone from out of town, they made sure that I had a taste of everything.


What struck me about these games was the way they promoted cross-generational interactions and learning.

The games were another fun part of the jamboree and included a fishing derby, a duck hunting competition, plucking feathers from a Kingalik or Mitiinnaq, and skinning a seal. What struck me about these games was the way they promoted cross-generational interactions and learning. For example, teams often consisted of Elders and youth who worked together to be the first to complete a task. It also quickly became apparent to me that these were more than just games; they were lessons and channels for cultural continuity and skills transmission. I watched as Elders guided their young teammates to shoot with precision, pull feathers in the proper direction, and flesh a sealskin to make it soft. The games were played with an impressive spirit of gamesmanship and integrity with focus on collective success. In addition to these team games there was an assortment of laughter inducing games such as ‘best goggle tan’, egg races, and karaoke.

The jamboree festivities demonstrated the strong community culture I experienced throughout my entire stay in Ulukhaktok. I learned that community collaboration and cooperation are important elements of life in Ulukhaktok. For example, those hunters who managed to harvest nearly 100 ducks would regularly share with their extended family or neighbours. Not every weekend in Ulukhaktok was as jam-packed as Jamboree weekend, but it was an excellent introductory course into the Ulukhaktok way of doing things.


Nunamin Illihakvia featured in Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s Inuktitut magazine

Category: Ulukhaktok
The Health Canada funded Nunamin Illihakvia project in Ulukhaktok was featured in the new edition of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s Inuktitut magazine, patient on pages 26-31. From the article:

“On a January morning, ask the headlights of a skidoo zigzag foxlike near Ulukhaktok. Like his father and grandfather before him, Adam Kolohouk Kudlak finds solace on the sea ice and appreciation for the sustenance it provides him, his family and community. Nattiq (ringed seal) were the staple for Inuit now living in Ulukhaktok, the lifeline that enabled Inuit to live in the region; a lifeline that Kolohouk continues to hold onto and strives to pass to younger generations.

Ulukhaktomuit have always hunted seals in the winter, however, residents of this small hamlet on the west coast of Victoria Island in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region of the Northwest Territories have undergone profound socio-economic and political changes in the last half-century. These changes have dramatically altered their lives and livelihoods, including their relationship with nattiq.”

Continue reading online here or download a PDF version


Nunamin Illihakvia featured in Tusaayaksat Magazine

Category: Ulukhaktok

The Nunamin Illihakvia: Learning from the Land project was featured in the magazine Tusaayaksat, purchase whose motto is: “Celebrating Inuvialuit People, treat Culture and Heritage.”

"Nunamin Illihakvia: Learning from the Land" in Tusaayaksat Magazine

“It is November, and Ulukhaktok is on blizzard warning tonight. Visibility is low as we trudge against winds up to 70km/hr and hard bits of snow whips into our eyes, we arrive at the youth center where Nunamin Illihakvia: Learning from the Land sewing classes are held. The door opens onto a scene that warms our heart immediately – there is laughter in the room, and elder Margaret Notaina is sitting on the floor with young mothers Susie Nigiyok and Denise Okheena, between them a sewing machine and a scatter of wolfskins. Avery, Denise’s two year old daughter is imitating the elder and her mother, using her hands to press gently down the hairs on a wolf pelt for the amaruq that Denise is making. An amaruq is the sunburst wolf fur trim on the hood of an Inuvialuit parka, and Denise is looking forward to making her first one for her baby.

Annie Inuktalik, instructor and elder known for her exquisite sewing dips a straight teeth comb into water, gently taming the strands of wolf fur that are astray. “You comb it like this, to make sure that the length of the hairs are even,” she shares.

“The amaruq is made of 3 layers of fur, with a canvas base. We use wolf furs with dark tips on the outside layer, the middle layer is lighter, and the back layer too. If the skin is not straight but it’s already dry we need to scrape it so it’s easier to work with. We fold the wolfskin right down the middle. We cut the long hair right by the edges and use that. We use a measuring piece to cut little pieces of the same size, and we cut off the ends so it should be all even. You can make two ruffs with one skin.”

In the room, there are other young mothers, most of them learning this skill for the first time.

Continue reading here.

Posted here with permission.